Holocaust survivors to meet Biden at Yad Vashem

Rena Quint and Gita Cycowicz lost loved ones in the Holocaust but survived to tell their story; both immigrated to the U.S. after the war, and later made Aliyah; now, the two will get some closure

Hadar Gil-Ad|
U.S. President Joe Biden, who is visiting Israel as the first stop on his Middle Eastern tour, will meet Holocaust survivors Rena Quint and Gita Cycowicz at the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
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  • "I'm very excited and a little bit nervous," said 86-year-old Quint.
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    טקס קבלת פנים לנשיא ארה"ב בנתב"ג
    טקס קבלת פנים לנשיא ארה"ב בנתב"ג
    U.S. President Joe Biden in Israel
    (Photo: AFP)
    Quint was just 10 years old when she arrived in the United States after World War II. "I didn't have a home until then, my whole family perished, and in the U.S., I was adopted by a wonderful family."
    "I'm very lucky to meet the president, it is a real closure. When I arrived, I was a scared little girl and I didn't know how to read or write. Now, I'm meeting the most important person in the world, it's pretty amazing."
    Quint was born in December 1935 as Freida "Freidel" Lichtenstein in the city of Piotrkow Tribunalski, Poland. Her mother and two brothers were murdered in October 1942 when the Jews of the city were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp. Quint was also deported with her father who later died and she had to pretend to be a boy to survive.
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    רינה
    רינה
    Rena Quint
    (Photo: Yad Vashem)
    In 1984, Quint made Aliyah with her husband and 4 children. She has been volunteering at Yad Vashem for over 30 years. "It was a miracle I survived, now I have an opportunity to speak to others and help them live a full Jewish life. I fear that the Holocaust will only be a piece of history in the future, so it is important that the Holocaust story be told from a personal angle because numbers alone have no meaning."
    Gita Cycowicz, a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor, is also expected to meet the U.S. president at the Jerusalem memorial. "I'm very excited to meet him. I've lived in the U.S. for 46 years after the war."
    Cycowicz was born in 1927 in the town of Chust on the Carpathian Mountains in Czechoslovakia (present-day Ukraine).
    In March 1944, the Germans rounded up Cycowicz and her family and confined them in a ghetto. Five weeks later, they were deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. After five months, Cycowicz and her sister Helen were transferred to the Mittelsteine labor camp. In May 1945, due to the progress of the Red Army, Cycowicz and her sister were transferred to Mährisch Weisswasser camp, but they were released after a week.
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    גיטה
    גיטה
    Giselle (Gita) Cycowicz
    (Photo: Yad Vashem)
    Cycowicz, her sister and cousin walked some 600 kilometers (372 miles) back to Chust, where they reunited with their older sister and mother. Three years later, Cycowicz arrived in the U.S.
    Her children, who grew up in a Zionist household, immigrated to Israel. At the age of 65, after her husband's death, Cycowicz made Aliyah as well. Upon her arrival in Israel, Cycowicz joined the Amcha organization where she began to provide psychological treatment for Holocaust survivors in individual and group settings.
    Cycowicz also accompanied and continues to accompany dozens of delegations of Israeli and American youth to Poland as well as IDF soldiers.
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